You and I both know you don’t have anything planned for Valentine’s Day yet. In fact, you forgot it’s that time of year when Hallmark vomits hearts all over everything until your bae mentioned how excited he or she was to give you your Valentine’s Day gift.
Don’t worry, though, you still have time to pull this year’s V-Day off in high style. Just follow this fail-proof guide to convince your sweetheart that you’ve had this planned for weeks in advance.
Step one: Send a love poem or quotation (priceless)
There’s nothing like a sweet text message to let your loved one know you’re thinking about them (and that you’ve remembered this auspicious occasion.) Need some inspiration? BrainyQuote (available on iOS) can help you find the right thing to say. Pick a quote, pick a photograph, and click “send.” Don’t have iOS? No worries, Love Quotes” is a similar app available for Android devices. It’s like those Valentines you used to hand out in elementary school, but classier.
If you really want to go all out, however, you could scrawl that love quote in a handcrafted (or hastily purchased) valentine and send it to your boo via courier (the Postmates app is handy for this and available from iTunes and Google Play.) It has the same grand gesture effect as a singing telegram —minus the embarrassment of actually receiving a singing telegram.
Of course, if you want to get cheesy, apps like Romantic Card Maker provide plenty of tools for creating Valentine’s Day cards.
Step two: Follow up with flowers or chocolate-covered berries ($30-$200)
Once you’ve got the love note sent, follow up with flowers. Or, if you subscribe to the adage that the way to any heart is through the stomach, send chocolate in any of its endorphin-releasing forms. ProFlowers, BloomNation, and a host of other sites let you order gorgeous arrangements and get them delivered at pretty decent prices. Prices vary pretty widely depending on the vase, the flowers, and the day you want the blooms sent. Prices also tend to surge on same-day orders, so just know that you will pay for procrastinating.
When it comes to chocolate-covered berries, Shari’s Berries is a pretty good bet, with prices ranging from $20 and up. You can even order from the iOS or Android app, if you don’t want to use the website. Delivery on V-Day will cost you $10 extra, though. Postmates can help you out, again, if you want to opt for local chocolatiers for your honeybun.
Step three: Reserve a table or plan a romantic dinner at home ($40-$100)
Now that you’ve shelled out a bunch of money to ease your guilty conscious, it’s time to think about the main event. If you can’t cook to save your life, you’ve got two options: eat out or hire a professional to cook for you. OpenTable, Reserve, or Table 8 (if you’re in California) can help you find the perfect spot to dine out. However, tables can be hard to come by this close to Valentine’s day. Alternatively, you could check out what’s looking good on FourSquare or Yelp, and go through place by place to see if they’ve got any tables left.
Failing that, stay in but leave the cooking to a pro. HireAChef, Cloud9Living, and BigCityChefs can help you find someone but, unsurprisingly, hiring a chef for the night isn’t cheap. Prices can run as high as $500 for a romantic dinner for two but, that’s a small price to pay to keep your sweetheart happy, right? You know what they say: Hell hath no fury like a valentine forgotten.
Alternatively, you can always make a nice, home-cooked meal for your darling. Whether you’re an aficionado in the kitchen or not, if you can at least follow a recipe, this could be the way to go. You’ll avoid the crowds, eliminate the need to tip the waiter, and pay too much for drinks from the bar. Even better, regardless how simple or fancy your fare, the fact that you went through the effort to make it yourself is an arrow to the heart for most valentines.
Ambiance is key here, and a little can go a long way— think Lady and the Tramp. A tablecloth, some candles, low lights, and maybe a flower or two in a vase is all it takes to transform your everyday table into an intimate setting for two. Remember you’re trying to make it seem like you had this planned all along, not like you just forgot and couldn’t get a reservation somewhere nice.
Step four: Put on some romantic slow jams or classical music
Glorious Valentines Playlist for Maximum Sexytime
I hate Valentine’s Day
Once you’ve figured out your game plan for dinner, get your playlists for the evening in order. Spotify has a bunch of lovey-dovey ones already made for you, and Apple Music’s playlists include some make-out mixes, too. It’s easy — and, obviously, more personal — to set up your own, too. Hopefully you’ve got a Bluetooth speaker to play the tunes.
Step five: Pop open a bottle or mix a drink ($10-$100)
A nice bottle of wine or champagne never goes amiss, either. Luckily, there are apps like the Vivino Wine Scanner that can tell you which bottles are winners and which aren’t. Alternatively, Mixology will teach you how to mix a mean cocktail, if that’s your pleasure. The only thing you’ll pay for here is the alcohol, so prices vary depending on what you’re drinking.
Run a bath piled high with bubbles ($10-$20)
Remember that scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts is indulging in the frothiest bubble bath ever? Recreate that relaxing luxury for your bae with the help of Lush, l’Occitane, Ulta, or — heck — the body wash aisle in your grocery story. Your sweetie can unwind while you frantically chop and sauté in the kitchen or put together a playlist. Or, if you’re on top of everything, you can take a page out of Richard Gere’s book and join in on the bathtub fun.
Rent a mushy movie ($4)
Speaking of Pretty Woman, nothing sets the scene for impending amour quite like a really great romantic movie. Not familiar with the genre? You can never go wrong with a classic from Amazon or iTunes. Amélie, Before Sunset, Casablanca, The Piano, and Bringing Up Baby cover all the fundamentals: cute, idealistic, classic, tragic, and comedic — in that order.
Host a hometown get-away at a local, ritzy hotel
House in a hurricane of clutter, or looking for a way to escape the kids for a night? Either way, sometimes it can be nice to just leave all the bed-making and pillow fluffing to someone else. Apps such as HotelTonight and Trivago can help you find a fancy room, even at last minute. Who doesn’t love room service, especially when it can be enjoyed in a fluffy robe in bed for dinner and breakfast? And, despite the change in location, nothing’s stopping you from putting on that slow jams playlist you made, chilling the killer bottle of champagne you picked out, and turning the lights down low.
Enjoy Valentine’s Day!
Now that you’ve got the basics for a superb Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to add your own individual je ne sais quoi. After all, it’s your crazy personality and unique ideas that won your valentine over in the first place.